Vinaya Pitaka (1): The Analysis of Monks’ Rules (Bhikkhu-vibhanga)

by I. B. Horner | 2014 | 345,334 words | ISBN-13: 9781921842160

The English translation of the Bhikkhu-vibhanga: the first part of the Suttavibhanga, which itself is the first book of the Pali Vinaya Pitaka, one of the three major ‘baskets’ of Therevada canonical literature. It is a collection of rules for Buddhist monks. The English translation of the Vinaya-pitaka (first part, bhikkhu-vibhanga) contains many...

Monks’ Forfeiture (Nissaggiya) 10

Bu-NP.10.1.1 BD.2.62 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time a chief minister,[1] the supporter of the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, sent a robe-fund[2] by a messenger to the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, saying: “Having got a robe in exchange for this robe-fund, present master Upananda with a robe.”

Then that messenger approached the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, and having approached, he said to the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans: “Honoured sir, this robe-fund was brought for the venerable one; let the venerable one accept this robe-fund.” Vin.3.220

When he had spoken thus, the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, said to that messenger: “Sir, we do not accept a robe-fund; but we accept a robe if it is at the right time and if it is allowable.”[3]

When he had spoken thus, that messenger said to the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans: “But is there someone who is the venerable one’s attendant[4]?”

At that time a certain lay-follower went to the monastery on some business or other. Then the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, said to that messenger: “Sir, this lay-follower is the monks’ attendant.”

Then that messenger, informing[5] that lay-follower, BD.2.63 approached the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, and having approached, he said to the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans:

“Honoured sir, the person whom the venerable one has pointed out as an attendant has been instructed[6] by me; let the venerable one approach (him) at the right time (and) he will present you with a robe.”

Then the chief minister sent a messenger to the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, to say: “Let the master make use of this robe; we want this robe made use of by the master.”

Then the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, did not say anything to that lay-follower. A second time the chief minister sent a messenger to the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, to say: “Let the master make use of … by the master. “A second time the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, did not say anything to that lay-follower. A third time the chief minister sent a messenger to the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, to say: “Let the master make use of … by the master.”


Bu-NP.10.1.2 Now at that time there came to be a meeting-day for the townspeople,[7] and an agreement was made by the townspeople that: Whoever comes the last pays fifty.[8] Then the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, approached that lay-follower, and having approached, he said to that lay-follower:

BD.2.64 “Sir, I want the robe.”

“Honoured sir, wait this day[9] (only). Today there comes to be a meeting-day for the townspeople, and an agreement was made by the townspeople that: Whoever comes last pays fifty.”

“Sir, give me the robe this very day,”[10] he said, and he took hold of his waist-band.[11] Then that lay-follower, being pressed by the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, having got a robe in exchange for the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, went the last. People said to this lay-follower: “Why do you, master, come the last? You have lost fifty.”[12] Then that lay-follower told this matter to those people. The people … spread it about, saying:

“These recluses, sons of the Sakyans, have great desires, they are not contented; Vin.3.221 amongst them it is not easy to render a service. How can they, being told by a lay-follower: ‘Honoured sir, wait this day (only),’ not wait?” Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, being told by a lay-follower: ‘Honoured sir, wait this day (only),’ not wait?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, Upananda, being BD.2.65 told by a lay-follower: ‘Honoured sir, wait this day (only),’ did not wait?”

“It is true, lord.”

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked him, saying:

“How can you, foolish man, being told by a lay-follower: ‘Honoured sir, wait this day (only),’ not wait? Foolish man, it is not for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Bu-NP.10.1.3In case a king or one in the service of a king[13] or a brahmin or a householder should send a robe-fund for a monk by a messenger, saying: ‘Having got a robe in exchange for this robe-fund, present the monk so and so with a robe’; then if this messenger, approaching that monk, should say: ‘Honoured sir, this robe-fund was brought for the venerable one; let the venerable one accept this robe-fund,’ then the messenger should be spoken to thus by this monk: ‘Sir, we do not accept a robe-fund, but we accept a robe if it is at the right time and if it is allowable.’ If this messenger should say to the monk: ‘But is there someone who is the venerable one’s attendant?’, then, monks,[14] an attendant should be pointed out by the monk in need of a robe—either one who is engaged in the monastery[15] or a lay-follower—saying: ‘This is the monks’ attendant.’ If this messenger, instructing this attendant, approaching that monk, should speak thus: ‘Honoured BD.2.66 sir, I have instructed the person whom the venerable one pointed out as an attendant; let the venerable one approach at the right time, (and) he will present you with a robe’; then, monks, if that monk is in need of a robe, approaching that attendant, he should state[16] and remind him two or three times, saying: ‘Sir, I am in need of a robe.’ If while stating and reminding two or three times, he succeeds in obtaining[17] that robe, that is good. If he does not succeed in obtaining it, he should stand silently[18] for it four times, five times, six times at the utmost. If he succeeds in obtaining that robe, standing silently for it, four times, five times, six times at the utmost, Vin.3.222 that is good. If he, exerting himself[19] further than that, succeeds in obtaining that robe, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he does not succeed in obtaining it, he should either go himself to where the robe-fund was brought from for him,[20] or a messenger should be sent to say: ‘That robe-fund which you, sirs, sent for a monk, is not of any use to that monk.[21] Let the gentlemen make use of their own,[22] let your own things be not lost.’[23] This is the proper course in this case.


Bu-NP.10.2.1 For a monk means: for the good of a monk, making a monk his object, being desirous of presenting to a monk.

A king means: he who rules a kingdom.

BD.2.67 One in the king’s service means: whoever is in the king’s pay.[24]

A brahmin means: a brahmin by birth.

A householder means: excepting the king and he who is in the king’s service and the brahmin, he who remains is called a householder.[25]

A robe-fund means: gold or a gold coin or a pearl or a jewel.[26]

For this robe-fund means: for what is present.

Having got in exchange means: having bartered.

Present means: give.

If that messenger, approaching that monk, should say : ‘Honoured sir, this robe-fund was brought for the venerable one, let the venerable one accept this robe-fund,’ then this messenger should be spoken to thus by this monk: … ‘… is the monks’ attendant.’ He should not say: ‘Give it to him,’ or ‘He will deposit it,’ or ‘He will barter it,’ or ‘He will get it in exchange.’

If this messenger, instructing this attendant, approaching that monk, should speak thus: ‘Honoured sir, I have instructed the person whom the venerable one pointed out as an attendant; let the venerable one approach at the right time (and) he will present you with a robe’; then, monks, if that monk is in need of a robe, approaching that attendant, he should state and remind him two or three times, saying: ‘Sir, I am in need of a robe.’ He should not say: ‘Give me a robe,’ ‘Fetch me a robe,’ ‘Barter a robe for me,’ ‘Get a robe in exchange for me.’ A second time he should say … A third time he should say …

If … he succeeds in obtaining (that robe), that is good. If he does not succeed in obtaining it, going there, he should stand silently for it; he should not sit down on a seat, he should not accept food, he should not BD.2.68 teach dhamma[27]; being asked, ‘Why did you come?’ he should say: ‘You know it, sir.’ If he either sits down on a seat Vin.3.223 or accepts food or teaches dhamma, he loses an opportunity.[28] A second time he may stand. A third time he may stand. Having stated four times, he may stand four times. Having stated five times, he may stand twice. Having stated six times, he may not stand.[29]


Bu-NP.10.2.2 If he, exerting himself further than that, succeeds in obtaining that robe, there is an offence of wrong-doing in the action. It is to be forfeited on acquisition; it should be forfeited to the Order, or to a group, or to an BD.2.69 individual. And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: ‘Honoured sirs, this robe obtained by me, by stating more than three times, by standing more than six times, is to be forfeited. I forfeit it to the Order.’ … ‘… the Order should give back … let the venerable ones give back … I will give back this robe to the monk so and so.’

If he does not succeed in obtaining it, he should either go himself to where the robe-fund was brought from for him, or a messenger should be sent to say: ‘That robe-fund which you, sirs, sent for a monk, is not of any use to that monk. Let the gentlemen make use of their own, let your own things be not lost.’

This is the proper course[30] in this case means: this is the appropriate course[31] in this case.


Bu-NP.10.2.3 If he succeeds in obtaining it by stating more than three times, by standing more than six times, thinking that they are more, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he succeeds in obtaining it by stating more than three times, by standing more than six times, but is in doubt (as to the number of times), there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he succeeds in obtaining it by stating more than three times, by standing more than six times, thinking them to be less, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If, stating less than three times, standing less than six times, he thinks them to be more, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If stating less than three times, standing less than six times, he is in doubt (as to the number), there is an offence of wrong-doing. If, stating less than three times, standing less than six times, he thinks them to be less, there is no offence.


Bu-NP.10.2.4 There is no offence in stating three times, in standing six times; in stating less than three times, in standing BD.2.70 less than six times; if himself not stating, he gives; if stating, the owners give; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.


The First Division: that on Kaṭhina-cloth[32]

This is its key:[33]

Ten (nights), one night, and a month,
and washing, acceptance,
Three about those who are not relations, of two,
and by means of a messenger. Vin.3.224

Footnotes and references:

1.

mahāmatta is at BD.1.74 included in definition of “kings.”

2.

See Bu-NP.8 and Bu-NP.9.

3.

kappiya—i.e., something that is made allowable for the monks to take because it has been given, and so made legally acceptable. See Vin.1.206.

4.

veyyāvaccakara, usually a lay-attendant in little better position than a servant. Vin-a.672 explains by kiccakaro kappiyakārako, one who makes something legally allowable (to the monks by offering it to them).

5.

saññapetvā = jānāpetvā, Vin-a.672.

6.

saññatto = āṇatto, Vin-a.672.

7.

negamassa samayo hoti. Negama also occurs at Vin.1.268. The word comes from nigama, which is from nadī-gāma. Originally things were sent by water rather than by land, so that villages on rivers (nadī-gāma) would become the centres of trade. In India all important cities are on a river. Thus nadī-gāma is an important place, a town even, which may or may not be the seat of a king (rājadhāni). If a gāma, village, becomes very big, it is called nagara, town. If not so big, then it is a pura. This is usually a fortified town. Villages and towns run in this order: gāma, village; nigama, a river-side and hence important village or little town; pura, a fortified town, in which kings may live; nagara, a town (this may contain a fortified portion, but may spread outside it); rājadhāni, seat of a king.

8.

paññāsaṃ bandho. Buddhaghosa is doubtful of the reading; there is also the variant reading baddho, which is synonymous with jito or jīno below. Vin-a.672 says “the fine (or punishment, daṇḍa) is fifty kahāpaṇas.”

9.

ajjuṇho. Vin-a.672 explains by ajja ekaṃ divasaṃ. It is therefore more likely to mean “(only) this day (the rest of the present day-and-night)” as given in the Critical Pali Dictionary, than “this moonlight night” of the Pali-English Dictionary

10.

ajj’ eva.

11.

ovaṭṭikāya pārāmasi. Ovaṭṭikā can also mean a bracelet and a patch. See Vinaya Texts ii.153, n.3; Morris, Journal of the Pali Text Society, 1887, p.156. Pārāmasi, translated at BD.1.203 as “rubs up against” is here explained by Vin-a.672 as gaṇhi, took hold.

12.

paññāsaṃ jino ’si. Oldenberg, Vinaya Texts iii.277 says, “Probably we ought to read jīno ’si.” Vin-a.672 has the reading jito ’si. Jīyati, one of whose meanings is “to lose,” is in Pali both the passive of √ji and the present middle of √jya, (), therefore it can have jita or jīna as past participles.

13.

rājabhogga. Pali-English Dictionary seems to see in this the meaning of “Of royal power, entitled to the throne, as a designation of class.” It says, under article for bhogga, and quoting this passage, that rājabhogga “takes the place of the usual khattiya.” I think, however, that the reference is back to the chief minister, who has already appeared in this episode. Cf. also below, Old Commentary, BD.2.67.

14.

Vinaya Texts i.23, n.1, “this word of address is most noteworthy … It must be meant as an address by the Buddha himself to the brethren.” Cf. also Bu-Pc.71, where bhikkhave again occurs in the sikkhāpada, rule.

15.

ārāmika, one who is employed in petty or menial works in a monastery, an attendant in a monastery. Nowadays such a man receives food there.

16.

codetabbo, here to request or state, but “state” is chosen for the translation, since monks were not allowed to make a request.

17.

abhinipphādeti.

18.

The silent mode of asking came to be the only one allowed to the monks. But here they are permitted to express their wants in words before they begin their silent standing.

19.

vāyamamāna.

20.

According to Vin-a.674 if a monk neither goes himself nor sends a messenger, he falls into an offence of wrong-doing for breaking a custom (vattabheda).

21.

na taṃ tassa bhikkhuno kiñci atthaṃ anubhoti.

22.

yuñjant’ āyasmanto sakaṃ, or “let the gentlemen have the benefit of their own things.”

23.

mā vo sakaṃ vinas(s)ā ti.

24.

rañño bhattavetanāhāro, living on a salary and food from a king.

25.

Cf. earlier definitions of a “householder” as “he who lives in a house,” above, BD.1.47, BD.1.55, BD.1.60.

26.

Cf. earlier and longer definitions of “robe-fund” at BD.2.55, BD.2.60.

27.

na dhammo bhāsitabbo. Vin-a.673 says that if asked to recite a piece of the text (or a blessing, at the beginning of a ceremony) or a grace (at the end of a meal), he should not say anything.

28.

ṭhānaṃ bhanjati—i.e., to go and stand. Vin-a.673 ṭhānaṃ = āgatakāraṇaṃ—i.e., the reason or occasion for which he came (namely, to acquire a robe).

29.

The method of reckoning the stating and standing is complicated. In the first place it is curious that here the monk seems able to state up to six times, while above, BD.2.66, it was said that he may state up to two or three times. According to Vin-a.674 there are three statings and three standings, and an increase in the one means a decrease in the other so far as asking for it four times goes. Here it means (so the Commentary) that if there is a decrease of one stating there is an increase of two standings. Therefore a double standing is shown to be the sign (lakkhaṇa) of one stating. So, by this reckoning, stating up to three times, there may be standing up to six times. Stating twice, there may be standing up to eight times. (This must be because there might have been one more stating, three statings allowing six standings, but because there are here only two statings, two more standings may be added, making eight.) Stating once, there may be standing up to ten times. (Here there might have been two more statings = eight standings. This, with the one more stating that was legal and its two standings, makes altogether ten standings.) Inasmuch as stating up to six times there should be no standing, so standing up to twelve times there should be no stating. Therefore if he states but does not stand, six statings are required. If he stands but does not state, twelve standings are required. If he stands and asks, for each stating two standings should be omitted. This is Buddhaghosa’s contribution to the subject. It seems that if a monk stands and speaks, saying that he wants a robe, he must lose two “standings”—i.e., two opportunities to stand for a robe.

30.

“proper course” is sāmīci, etiquette, courtesy; “appropriate course” is anudhammatā, custom; used with regard to the monks. Dhamma here means good social manners and customs. Anudhammatā is a synonym for sāmīci.

31.

See previous note.

32.

kaṭhinavagga. Cf. the Kaṭhinakkhandhaka, Vin.1.253–265.

33.

uddāna, something like a mnemonic verse, an abbreviation, in which only a leading word of each rule is given, and simply to help the memory of the monk who is reciting the rules. All the teaching was oral.